Concert Review: Yacht, May 2nd, Lee’s Palace

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Toronto – It’s been two years since Yacht put on an epic performance at the Wrongbar. Sold out and buzzing with energy, the Portland duo put on a fantastic show featuring above all else, a prayer circle to expell the crowd of all evils. Yacht’s return to Toronto on Monday just happen to coincide with this little event called the federal election and produced a decidedly smaller crowd at Lee’s Palace, but that did not deter the group from putting on a stellar show. They were in town to preview their new record, Shangri-La off DFA Records

Dressed once again in contrasting black and white outfits, Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans rocked the stage on Monday night with a mixture of new material with songs off their hit album See Mystery Lights. Barefooted and dressed in a white dress, the wiry Claire was a mesmerizing force on stage – she danced, she sang, she climbed things and during parts of the song The Afterlife, went into the crowd and started tapping people on the head. As my friend put it “if I was in a band, I would be like her … just. do whatever I want on stage!” I was quite surprise with Jona’s decision to remain in the background for most if the set, content with playing synthesizer, guitar and providing the vocals when needed. Last time I saw them there seemed to be a lot more vocal interplay between the pair.

The new tracks blended nicely with the older material, which follows the classic formula of dance worthy beats and upbeat lyrics that eventually lead to singalongs. The disco-esque new single Dystopia (The Earth Is on Fire) got a great reaction and as usual the single Psychic City got the crowd singing. It’s impossible to not want to dance a bit when they are on stage. The energy and positive energy they radiate is infectious and the people who were at Lees ate it up. Let’s hope there’s a few more people here next time they roll into town.

Yacht – Dystopia by theQuietus

Song of the Day: Gypsy And The Cat – Jona Vark

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Toronto – Seeing how Australian music has been highly influential in my music tastes these days, it should be no surprise that another electro pop act has caught my eye.

Gypsy And The Cat consists of Melbourne DJs Xavier Bacash and Lionel Towers. At the tender age of 21 years old, they appear to be kinda new. This track started receiving heavy airplay from Australian station Triple J, and for good reason – it’s really catchy. The track reminds me of Empire of the Sun without all the drugs. Check it out.

Hot Docs: The National Parks Project [2011, 2 Many Directors]

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national parks project

Toronto – 2011 marks the centennial birthday of Canada’s National Parks. In order to celebrate this birthday, 13 filmmakers were commissioned to create short films that captured Canada’s majestic landscapes in art form. The directors in question were Louise Archambault, Keith Behrman, Daniel Cockburn, Hubert Davis, Sturla Gunnarsson, Zacharias Kunuk, Stéphane Lafleur, Peter Lynch, Catherine Martin, Kevin McMahon, Scott Smith, Jamie Travis and John Walker. Each of them would represent a province or territory and create a vignette about that particular landscape that was to incorporate both visual and if need be, audio elements. Sarah Harmer, Sam Roberts, Melissa Auf Du Maur (who I always seem to see at airports) and Casey Mecija were among the artists involved in the project, which is also featured on Discovery television.

Seeing how this entire film was based on collaboration, I decided to do the same, and collaborate with my fellow twitter and facebook friends on this review. I guess the only difference is that I don’t have their consent. HAHAHAHA. So without further delay, here are some twitter reactions:

Much like a fourteen year old teenager, twitter overreacts to everything and so I think the criticism of the film were a bit harsh. With a running time north of two hours, The National Parks Project runs long, and when you give 13 different artists free reign to produce something to their liking, you have to expect a mixed result. I found the National Parks Project to be an uneven collaboration that created a roller coaster ride of a film. There were some exceptional moments, filled with great music, great footage and astounding shots that showed just how beautiful Canada is. However, these exceptional moments were bogged down by seemingly pretentious vague artsy moments by some directors trying to be overly creative. With nothing to drive the film besides music and imagery, these moments weigh down the film significantly and given it’s two hour running time, seem to extend the film even longer. It’s sad to say, but these moments are ones that will dominate the conversation in the end. Perhaps the discovery channel portion of this project, which see it broken down into different episodes, is a better outlet for this type of collaboration.

Concert Review: Brother, May 3, The Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | 1 Comment

Toronto – Brother have recently been touted by the British music press as one of the “next big thing” buzz bands.  They first caught my attention back in December on a trip to London when I picked up a copy of NME and read a feature on them.  The band gave a pretty good interview, bringing up the ghost of Oasis (while taking care to stress that they don’t sound like Oasis), slagging off fellow Brit buzz bands of the moment The Vaccines and Mona, and offering up ridiculous, cocky quotes like “we self-elected ourselves to be the future.”  Being slaves to the whims of the British music press, Team Panic Manual was out in full force for the Slough band’s Canadian debut at The Horseshoe.

Given the Oasis comparisons and the braggadocio on display in the aforementioned interview, these guys seemed a lot nicer than I expected them to be.  I imagined four cocky Liam Gallagher clones, all wearing sunglasses on stage.  What we saw instead was four lads (plus a keyboard player and a backup singer) having fun onstage and rocking out.  There was a bit of swagger on display in comments like, “Come on, Toronto, you’re supposed to be going crazy.  This is Brother!” and “This is the part where you show us you like us and clap along.”  However, these comments were probably a bit tongue in cheek, not obnoxious at all, and kind of endearing.  Also effective – people did clap along for a bit. 

Basically, these guys play some solid, decent, guitar based Britpop/rock.  They’ve got a few catchy tunes (the highlight being “Darling Buds Of May”), some good stage banter and kept things moving along at a good pace.  Also, as Ricky pointed out, their set was twice as long as fellow buzz band The Vaccines’ similar Horseshoe showcase a few months back.  It was probably equally as effective though.  I’m not so sure about the effectiveness of singer Lee Newell’s choice of a tie-died t-shirt though.  I kept waiting for them to bust out a Grateful Dead cover. 

So will these guys turn out to be the future of music that they’ve elected themselves to be or just flashes in the pan?  More likely the latter, but in the meantime, they put on a pretty good show and they’re riding a wave of popularity and hype.  Might as well enjoy the ride.

Darling Buds of May (Single) by vivaBROTHER